NYSCOPBA weighs in on proposed prison closures

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order to create a task force that will recommend prison closures, and that is not sitting well with the union that represents corrections officers.

A representative with NYSCOPBA says you have to "rightsize" before you can downsize.

Tom Haas of NYSCOPBA says that the more inmates you pack in an area, the more problems you'll have, and he has a big problem with this new task force and the orders it has.

"You can not study the New York State Department of Corrections in 30 days...there is no way possible that anyone can do it. It's a massive agency," Haas said. "When we talk about cutting more staff, since 2009 we lost 1,000-plus CO's, Sergeants...NYSCOPBA members that they have not replaced through attrition. Through attrition they have not been replaced."

In the four facilities locally, about 2,600 people are employed.

Under Governor Cuomo's plan, communities that depend on prisons as major employers could receive up to $100 million in assistance.

"The 3,400 beds, according to the governor, will save $72 million," Haas said. "But, if he's going to, on the other hand, give out $100 million to the local communities affected by losing these beds...what are we saving? There is no savings there."

Cuomo projects $72 million in savings from the proposed prison system closures in 2011-12 and another $112 million in 2012-13. The total savings over the two years is estimated at $184 million.

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